Behind the wheel, it has more than proved itself as a daily driver. It’s perfectly sedate around town, despite its hot hatch capabilities. But I can’t deny that having 266bhp on tap is useful; the turbo spools up quickly to boost you away from the lights with an aggressiveness that always surprises those new to the car.
One recent example comes courtesy of an airport parking driver who, after delivering the car to me, eloquently volunteered: “It’s quick, isn’t it?” That’s not the most reassuring thing to hear, but there’s no doubting he’s right. Not only does it get away from a standstill swiftly, but with consistent torque throughout the range, you could also be forgiven for thinking there was an engine much bigger than the 1.6-litre unit that's under the bonnet. The six-speed manual ’box is good, too, even if it is missing the precision and crispness that you get in something sweeter and more delicate, such as a Mazda MX-5.
At cruising speeds, the GTi is more than comfortable, although those 19in ‘Carbone’ alloy wheels and wide tyres create quite a rumble on the motorway. It probably seems more pronounced because the 308 lulls you into a general sense of ease, in which it’s easy to forget you’re in a super-fast hatchback.
There’s little else to report on the driving impressions front but, so far, the 308 has impressed in the handling department, displaying little body roll and great grip in tight corners. Peugeot Sport seems to have managed to remove most of the body movement in corners and over bumps without making the ride feel harsh.
Inside, the cabin seems a little staid for a fast version of the 308, but its boringness is also its charm. This car is understated and largely high in quality, offering great performance without having to shout about it in its appearance.
It’s a similar story outside. We opted for ‘Hurricane’ dark grey paint, which gets red trim on the lower front grille, and it all looks tidy enough. It also lacks the ‘look at me’ mentality of, say, the Coupé Franche option, which is undoubtedly cool but a bit in-yer-face for my everyday car.
As I mentioned in my first report, Peugeot’s dramatic step up in terms of interior quality and appearance for the 308 was a welcome arrival. It has done what many savvy manufacturers do and ensured all the touchpoint materials are good quality. But look closer and the plastics in those more hidden-away places don’t fare so well. Then there’s the infotainment system, almost solely controlled through the touchscreen. Here the irritation starts: reaction to touch has a delay, and working out how to program radio stations is far from intuitive. I’ve driven enough cars to consider that if I can’t work that out without a manual, it’s not as easy as it should be for anyone.
Price £28,455 Price as tested £28,695 Economy 34.8mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 4.5.16